• World Cup 2022

England stars give verdict on referee’s performance in France defeat

Harry Maguire - England
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A narrow defeat against France ended England’s World Cup dreams.

Jude Bellingham and Harry Maguire have criticized the referee’s decisions after England’s defeat against France at the World Cup quarter-finals.

Following a stunning opener from Aurelien Tchouameni, England came back into the game through Harry Kane’s penalty.

However, Olivier Giroud’s powerful header in the second half was enough to restore the Blues’ lead. 

The referee awarded England another penalty in the 84th minute. But this time, Kane missed his shot to end his side’s hopes of securing a second equalizer.

Despite his two penalty decisions in favor of England, Wilton Sampaio came under fire for his performance after the game.

“Anyone can have a bad game, players and referees,” Bellingham told ITV. “[But] I think he wasn’t where he should have been today in terms of the level for a game like this.

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“There are more factors as to why we lost. This definitely isn’t me putting it all on him, [as] we were the ones who played the game. But I don’t think he was at the level tonight.

“I think there were a few [fouls] around the box in the first half. We are deadly at set pieces, and I think any one of those can make the difference.”

England players hit out at the referee for a no-foul call right before France’s opener. The Blues’ aggressive pressing resulted in more controversial decisions in the second period.

Maguire echoed Bellingham’s interview when he spoke to BBC Sport: “From minute one, there were five or six fouls not one yellow card. It’s a foul for the first goal, leading up to it on Bukayo.

“I can’t really go into explaining how bad his performance was. I don’t want to go into too much because I’ll end up getting fined.

“But even though the big decisions were wrong, he never gave us anything. Throughout the game he was really poor.”